Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Chris + Irvington, 2010

I'm home!


Our arrival...
The side of the Portland Union Train Station sign that reads GO BY TRAIN. It looks fabulous when lit up at night.

Cartola's perfectly prepared cappuccinos, beautiful design, soothing music + free copy of The New York Times.

Helen Bernhard Bakery's crumb donut (cake, not raised) -- the best donut I've ever eaten.

Brunch at Blossoming Lotus. Beautiful kale! Delicious fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice in their Breakfast Greyhound.
Bonus: There was something about the name of the place that made us giggle each time we walked past the sign.

A leisurely afternoon-turned-evening with our friend Daniel. We visited Foster & Dobbs and stocked up on cheese, cured meats, craft beer, fantastic olives (Castelvetranos were our favorite) and the most wonderful salty date and almond crackers. We finished our evening with squares of dark chocolate + ginger.

I stumbled upon Knit Knot Studio while visiting the Pearl District and had a conversation with Elizabeth, the charming owner. She took one look at my favorite scarf and said Oh sweetie, I need to teach you how to create a nice edge for your scarves. She was also convinced that I must give up my bamboo needles and silly wrap around stitching method. I needed to move up to aluminum needles and continental style knitting (the-only-way-to-go in Poland). I know I know, it all seems a little harsh, but really, it wasn't. She loved sharing her wisdom and teaching and did so lovingly. If I lived in Portland I'd buy all of my yarn at Knit Knot, just so I could hang out with Elizabeth.

Strolling the streets of moss-covered Irvington. Moss in just about every shade of green covered just about every exposed surface. Petite purple flowers were popping up through the grass on every corner. The rain has served Portland well.

My last day...
I found it surprisingly satisfying to sit at the counter in Stumptown's downtown cafe. Cappuccino, book of poetry in hand, very loud bass-filled music filling the giant open space. Somehow this was very relaxing. I can't explain.

Irvington moss, 2010


  1. Salty date and almond crackers---Yes! What a find!
    I've never been to Portland, but know that it holds so many artisanal treasures.

    RE: Elizabeth Gilbert--Her TED talk, which I found last year, continues as a great source of inspiration. (her talk much better than her book!) I love the notion of the Poem rolling down the hillside, looking for its conduit, a poet, any poet...and the poet racing for the house to fetch pen and paper.

  2. I've always wanted to go to Portland. Your post gives me more things to look forward to when I finally get there!

  3. I like that photo a lot (man walks in manly manner), and I didn't even know there were two sorts of knitting but am sure I use the wrong sort.

  4. Sounds like you had a great visit to my lovely city. It's funny, Cartola's been on my list of places to check out sometime, as the pics I've seen make it look so cozy.

    Oh, and the Go By Train sign is one of my favorite landmarks! It IS a great way to go - it's how I usually get to Seattle.

  5. Oh, it sounds relaxing and sweet and just perfectly lovely, Denise..! I'm so glad you visited that city, and some day, I will too.


  6. Oh my gosh... I've been totally transfixed on the little patches of this moss that I've noticed on my morning runs lately. They look like mini Who-ville forests to me. ;) Glad you had a nice time in PDX. I'd love to go back and visit one day. It's such a sweet city.

  7. What a lovely day and wonderfully written

  8. I love that last photo so much...sweet list.

  9. you said you can't totally did...i was (virtually) sitting at that cafe reading poetry and drinking coffee with you!

  10. Next time you're taking walks through my mossy neighborhood you must pop in for a cup of tea, Denise! Sounds like you had a good trip.

  11. Nancy, The crackers were actually Canadian made, not Portland made, but so good. I too loved the story of the poet that Elizabeth Gilbert tells during her TED talk.

    Erin, I was only in Portland for a short while. I'm sure there are many more treasures to uncover. Jessica's blog and Abby's blog are 2 great places that come to mind for exploring Portland a bit further.

    Mise, Chris (my husband) is feeling very manly now. Thank you. Now that I'm comfortable with my wrong-way knitting, I don't think I'll change. Such a disgrace...

    Maija, Cartola is a petite space. I suggest arriving early so you can snag one of the two cozy window seats. We arrived by train from Seattle and seeing the sign at night was a real treat.

    Maria (Vintage Simple), We found wandering the residential section of the Irvington neighborhood most relaxing. Especially early in the morning on weekend days, when it's quiet, and everyone else is sleeping.

    Jesse, I've always loved moss, but I've never seen so much in one neighborhood. It was pretty amazing.

    Maria (Sweet T Farm), It was a nice few days. Thank you.

    Alexandria, Yes, the moss in Irvington is very photogenic. Thanks.

    Amelia, I kind of feel like being there right now. NPR + my glass of water just isn't cutting it...

    Jessica, You live in Irvington? No way... It's such a pretty neighborhood. I did think of you when I was walking around and wondered if you were close by. I'd love a cup of tea next time!

  12. My daughter lived in Irvington when she first moved to the city from Indiana. I remember Historic Irvington...I loved it. She's still in Portland and I feel really good when I visit there.

  13. Kim, Nice to know you've enjoyed Irvington too. So many pretty homes and gardens.

  14. Yep, I live maybe 8 blocks northeast from where you were at Foster & Dobbs. And my office is two blocks from the downtown Stumptown. Portland often feels like a small world. :-)

  15. The whole town is artsy. And they are so good to their homeless, I observed. Portland is patterned after the Netherlands I've heard.

  16. Jessica, close. We might have walked right past each other.

    Kim, I've never visited the Netherlands, but have heard good things. Maybe one day I'll finally make it to Amsterdam. Then we will know for sure.

  17. I love to hear people talk about Portland. I've lived here my whole life and it's neat to see/hear what other people enjoy about it. Glad you had a good time!

  18. Stephanie, There is still so much I don't know about Portland. I'm sure you have a long list of favorite little Portland corners that have taken time to find. I still feel as though I'm discovering new aspects of San Francisco and I moved here in 2000.

  19. I cannot believe you were just here! What hotel did you stay at? I am curious why the metal needles are better than bamboo...did she say? I love the Go By Train sign too ;)

  20. wait, what? how did I miss this post? you were in my hometown! i'm glad you enjoyed it! (helen bernhard's!)

  21. Rebekah, We stayed in a "vacation rental" house in Irvington. It was a great house and we enjoyed walking all around Irvington's residential area. Elizabeth (Knit Knot Studio) said the aluminum needles were much faster. She knit continental style with aluminum needles while I was in the store and she was incredibly speedy. I watched, awestruck, but wondered if knitting that fast would ruin the peacefulness of it all for me.

    Elena, I somehow missed you were from Portland. Another cool person residing in Portland! My little brother is on his way. He'll be residing in Portland too, beginning this week.

  22. I just got back from portland, home for me too in many ways, though I haven't lived there in 9 years and may not again. It is a beautiful city.

  23. oh, and I remember seeing that train station at night for the first time, coming to Portland by bus to visit my mother before making a permanent move. Etched in memory...

  24. Annje, I did love seeing that sign upon arrival--very cool. My brother is making Portland his new home. He hasn't been there very long, but he's really loving it so far.